We’re delighted to say Hopton House B&B is open for business following the recent lockdown. And we’re looking forward to welcoming back all of our repeat guests and meeting some new ones!
As many of you know, we were planning to shut the B&B for good at the end of September. But we’ve extended that to the middle of December to give our guests the opportunity for one last stay ( or more than one stay in quite a few cases )
You can rest assured that we’re taking all reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of anyone catching COVID-19 here at Hopton House. We have a dedicated page explaining what we’re doing here.
We are doing our very best to make sure your stay at Hopton House is as relaxing ( and familiar for our repeat guests ) as possible. There will be lemon drizzle, shortbread and delicious breakfasts.
Probably the biggest change, is that we won’t do interim room tidies whilst you’re staying with us. This is to protect your bubble and to protect ourselves. We will provide you with a box to put any dirty crockery, towels etc and to ask for replacements.
I’ve been spending much of Lockdown working hard on my B&B training Courses. You can find out more here . I’ve also been filling up Instagram with pictures of our amazing countryside. If you’re not already following us, pop over and join us.
I would love to be writing a lovely blog post about newborn lambs, daffodils and the warm spring weather. And I promise I will get onto that soon! But my immediate priority needs to be letting you know what we’re doing here during this crisis.
I am very sad to say that we have the made the decision to close Hopton House B&B until the end of June.
As you’ll be aware, the government are advising against non essential travel and asking us all to social distance. An increasing number of local NHS doctors are also asking tourists to keep away to avoid over burdening local NHS services. For this reason, we believe that closing is the right thing to do.
We were planning to close Hopton House for good at the end of September. But we have decided to keep it open till the end of the year to allow our guests who want to move their bookings more flexibility.
If you have an existing booking with us in April, May or June
If you’ve paid a deposit or a non refundable, it would be really helpful to us if you could move your booking to a later date. The online booking system is up to date with all our current availability until Christmas 2020.
If you’d like your deposit refunded, please let us know and we will aim to do that as soon as possible. Please email at email@example.com rather than phoning if at all possible
If we haven’t heard from you 2 weeks prior to your booking, we will get in touch with you to discuss what you would like to do.
I hope that you and your loved ones stay safe, and hope we will be welcoming you to Hopton House before the end of the year.
4 weeks ago we welcomed Ralph to our little family here at Hopton House. He’s another rescue dog, a 9 month old golden retriever crossed with a border collie ( probably ). If you’re on Instagram, you can follow the adventures of Saffy and Ralph here.
Like Saffy ( read more about Saffy’s arrival here ), he loves meeting new people. So he’s always available for a cuddle. But we know not everyone likes dogs, so guests only get to meet the dogs on request. Our garden is split into 2 and our dogs stay on their side. And the dogs can’t go near the guest rooms, which are both outside in a separate annex.
Saffy, our German Shepherd / Rough Collie cross is beside herself and loves having someone to play with. So our main problem, apart from pulling on the lead, is trying to stop her from constantly nagging him to play! For a 9 month old puppy, Ralph is actually very calm.
Unfortunately, because he still pulls quite a bit on the lead, I have to walk Saffy and Ralph separately. This means I’m getting lots of exercise, walking up our lovely lane and enjoying the autumn colours. Luckily Ralph is very keen to please, and also very fond of roast chicken, so he’s learning quickly.
If you want to bring your own dogs to Hopton House, we have one ground floor dog friendly room, the Barn Room.
If you like to walk your dogs in the woods. We have both Hopton Woods ( about a 6 minute drive to the car park ) or Purslow Woods ( less than 5 minutes drive ) from us. For on lead walking ( or very well behaved dogs ) our daily walk is along the lane to Hopton Castle.
The Heart of Wales Line Trail is a new long distance walk that weaves its way along the beautiful Heart of Wales railway Line. This 150 year old rural railway, mostly single track, starts in the the Shropshire Hills. It then passes through green valleys, past wooded hillsides, over viaducts and finally ends on the South Welsh coast.
The new trail starts at Craven Arms and ends at Swansea. At 141 miles long, it would take you about 10 days to do the whole walk. Or you could use the train to access sections of the walk. If you don’t want to do the whole trail, read more about other walks from Hopton House here
Why Hopton House B&B is the perfect place to start your journey
We’re just a few minutes walk from Hopton Heath Railway Station
Pre order a supper platter to eat in your room after a days walking (£30 for 2 people – can be made vegetarian/vegan/pescetarian on request)
Packed lunches provided on request ( £6.50 each )
Water bottles refilled from our filter tap
Homemade lemon drizzle cake and shortbread biscuits waiting in your room
Fully controllable heating in both rooms
Large baths and separate powerful showers
Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and soap provided
Forget me not box of essential items you may have forgotten
Comfortable 6 foot wide beds and sofas and chairs to chill out
Heart of Wales Line Trail guide book and local maps to borrow
For a full description of the route and links to the timetables on the Heart of Wales Line, visit their website here
If you’re planning to do the whole walk, then Hopton House B&B is perfectly situated to start your journey. Being just a few minutes walk from Hopton Heath Station, you can easily get the train to Craven Arms. Stay here as an overnight stop between Craven Arms and Bucknell or you could stay a couple of nights. Take the train up to Craven Arms on your first morning and walk back , then walk onto Bucknell the next day.
For those of you who just want to do sections of the walk, we’re obviously in the perfect location to do that. With maps and and copies of the Heart of Wales Line Trail guidebook to borrow, you can plan your trip.
We are lucky to enjoy the most amazing countryside here in the Shropshire Hills and the best way to get out and explore it is on a walk. As Shropshire is still relatively undiscovered, the countryside is perfect if you want to escape from the crowds. I’ve put together 5 walks in the Shropshire Hills that you can from Hopton House B&B.
There are walks of all types, from short circulars to long distance trails. The most exciting new walk is the Heart of Wales trail, with walks from one railway station to the next on the lovely Heart of Wales Line.
1. Heart of Wales Trail
Hopton House is a couple of minutes walk from the station at Hopton Heath. It’s a request stop, so you need to put your hand out to ask the driver to pick you up!
You’ve got a couple of options. You can walk to one of the next stations, then get the train back or get the train and walk back. You can either travel north to Broome or Craven Arms or south to Bucknell or Knighton.
It does need a bit of careful planning as there are only a few trains a day. The timetables are here.
The trail is described here. We do have ordnance survey maps and copies of the trail book that you can borrow.
We don’t normally offer one night stays at Hopton House, but if we have availability mid week and you’re walking the trail and just need 1 night, please drop me an email and I’ll see if we can fit you in.
There are no pubs or restaurants within walking distance, but we do offer platters to be enjoyed in your room. You can choose from a local cheese, ploughmans, smoked salmon, vegetarian or vegan platter all served with homemade granary bread. The cost is £30 for 2 people and needs to be booked in advance.
2. A short walk to Hopton Castle
We’re about 25 minutes from the castle at Hopton Castle. This is the walk a lot of guests enjoy when they arrive to stretch their legs or in the morning to work up an appetite for breakfast. It’s mostly up a fairly quiet lane but part of it can be across fields. The castle is open to the public with no charge. It was featured on Time Team a few years ago. You can watch the episode on YouTube here.
Since that episode was filmed, a lot of work has been done to make the castle safe to visit, including installation of information boards and a car park.
3. Shropshire Lad Walk
The poet AE Housman wrote a small volume of poems called A Shropshire Lad. It was very popular and sold in it’s millions at the beginning of the 20th century. This walk is based on the section:
‘Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun Are the quietest places Under the sun.’
Christopher Sommerville wrote up the walk and described it here. He starts the walk in Clun but we’re very close to the mid section of the walk, so you can walk it from the house.
The pubs or tearooms in Clun are a good place to stop off for lunch or I can do a packed lunch if booked in advance.
4. A Walk to Purslow Wood
Purslow Wood is one of my favourites to take Saffy for a walk. It’s lovely at all times of the year, but particularly lovely in October and November when the red oaks are at their most magnificent.
I tend to drive up to the woods and park up at the entrance. It’s about a mile from us ( turn left out of our drive, past the first road to Hopton Castle, then turn left by the farmhouse and the entrance is just on your right up the hill )
However if you want to walk it, the Bucknell Walking Group have described it from Hopton Castle here. I wouldn’t recommend walking on the road I drive to it as there are no verges.
5. The Long Mynd
Church Stretton is called Little Switzerland. It’s a beautiful part of the Shropshire Hills with loads of walking opportunities. A few years ago it was featured on a stamp as one of the most parts of the UK. It’s 12 miles from us and is about a 30 minute drive.
It is particularly stunning in Autumn and Winter. Church Stretton has lots of restaurants and cafes and is a dog friendly town.
You can get the train ( or a combination of bus and train ) from Hopton House to Church Stretton if you didn’t want to drive. Again it takes careful planning as there aren’t many buses or trains a day.
If you fancy trying any of these 5 walks in the Shropshire Hills, Google maps is a great way of planning your train and bus journeys from Hopton House.
I’m very sad to tell you that we had to say goodbye to Mitsi the B&B Dog last Monday. She was 14 and had gone downhill quite rapidly in the last 7 months since we lost Murphy. Whilst she enjoyed some of the perks of being an only dog, I really think she missed her best mate too much.
She came to us 13 years ago as a nearly 1 year old rescue dog. She’d belonged to an old Welsh lady who became too ill to look after her, so she was a well loved dog even before she arrived with us.
I hope she’d tell you she’d had a wonderful life here; a big garden to play in filled with rabbits, squirrels and mice, lots of games of ball, walks in the wood and up the lane, a wonderful best friend in Murphy and, of course, endless love and cuddles from us.
We’re all very sad, especially coming so soon after losing our lovely boy.
I’ve been running the B&B for 14 years this week. Murphy arrived 2 months after we opened and Mitsi 6 months after that. It’s taking some getting used to not having my 2 best pals around.
We do, however, have some slightly happier news. We have a new arrival, Saffy. Saffy arrived a few weeks before we realised we’d be losing Mitsi. She will never be able to replace either Mitsi or Murphy but she is keeping us occupied and amused, which is what both Rob and I need right now.
She’s another rescue dog; an 8 month old German shepherd/rough collie ( lassie ) mix. She’s a very clever girl and also displaying typical puppy behaviour!
She adores people and other dogs. So she’s the perfect B&B dog. It can be quite a struggle getting anywhere with her when we’re out where there are people, as everyone keeps stopping to make a fuss of her, which she loves.
After a very busy summer and September we’re now into October. We’ve been enjoying some glorious weather, with beautiful morning mists and golden sunsets, and are loving seeing the colours gradually changing in the garden.
We were fairly full for October at the B&B but we’ve had a few last minute cancellations so we now have good availability, including our dog friendly downstairs Barn Room which is normally fairly well booked out throughout. Click on the Book Now! button for more details.
Remember if you’d rather not go out in the evening we can leave a platter in your room; choose from cheese, ploughmans or smoked salmon. This for just £25 for 2 people.
We hope to see you soon!
Shropshire Bed and Breakfast – October
Bed and Breakfast Shropshire, B&B near Ludlow and Hopton Castle